Health officials from around the world have pledged to reduce cholera deaths by 90% by 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced.
The Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) — a network of more than 50 UN and international agencies, including governments, aid agencies and donors — launched the strategy in October 2017. Cholera kills an estimated 95,000 people and affects 2.9 million more every year.
The GTFCC has produced its Ending Cholera: A Global Roadmap to 2030, recognising that cholera spreads in endemic “hotspots” where predictable outbreaks of the disease occur year after year.
The roadmap document aims to “align resources, share best practice and strengthen partnerships between affected countries, donors and international agencies”, the WHO said. The health organisation said the move emphasises the need for “a coordinated approach to cholera control with country-level planning for early detection and response to outbreaks”.
By implementing this roadmap, up to 20 affected countries could eliminate cholera by 2030, the WHO said.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said the organisation was “proud to be part of this new joint initiative to stop deaths from cholera”.
“Every death from cholera is preventable with the tools available today, including use of the oral cholera vaccine and improved access to basic safe water, sanitation and hygiene as set out in the roadmap.
He stressed that this was a “disease of inequity that affects the poorest and most vulnerable. It is unacceptable that nearly two decades into the 21st century, cholera continues to destroy livelihoods and cripple economies. We must act together. And we must act now.”
Trudi Hilton, a pharmacist consultant in resource-limited settings, said pharmacists could help in tackling cholera.
“Pharmacists can save lives by ensuring public information and education on good hygiene, advising on use of oral rehydration solutions, and signposting to appropriate treatment centres if they are established,” she said.